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Listen! All this, made by man, exists for one simple reason, further harmony amongst humans, happiness, materialistic utopia, Only a few work a counter way, to conquer, to disharmonize and torture this world!
It is common in many cultures for there to be those who seek to work against the grain of the world. The "evil" skinwalkers of the Navaho who exist to spread malice, witches who seek to tear down the grain that the Benadanti fought against in night battles, the examples are many. It is in this tradition of anti existence that Ondskapt take their breath and create their music.
The void, the eternal hunger for greater fields of existence and the denial of the worldly materialism of man and the spiritual chains bonded by Christianity are found in their works. Also the malignant desires to see it all wither and die away in warfare, plague and torture. There is no reason to agree or not agree with their statements, only to grasp their world view in the light of their creations.
The music on this release of theirs is quite fully formed, it is a base on which they have spread their demonic seed further on later releases. Much of this album is made up of slower and mid paced tempos, the emphasis is on the almost temple like atmosphere created by the mix and sound. The highly reverberated sound of the recording brings to mind the production brought to life on Mayhem's masterful De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas always a favorite of mine.
The riffing is not quite as catchy as later Ondskapt releases, but the feeling of a journey is given on here, from the beginnings of the recording to the end, we are taken through an ever darkening pathway of death to a new "un"-life. Vocals are a main point on here, providing a mixture of Varg screams, and Attila like reptilian vocalizations.
I think one of the points of this release is to create a trance inducing quality. Also the sense of a religious mystery play is felt, as if this recording if introduced to the proper mind will present a kind of religious mass. Maybe this is all my own subjective understanding, and yet I think through reading interviews with the band that maybe I'm not too far off.
Certainly there will be many detractors of this release, and Ondskapt in general. This isn't a bad thing, opposition itself simply shows they are challenging something of the herd like mass within metal music. In the end Ondskapt aren't asking you to understand or even like them, they exist in their own framework and world, and are presenting the world with pieces of their minds.
So yes, I like this release, I like all of theirs, but this one hits me in a special way, something about the atmosphere hits me just right. I have listened to this album many times, and have been hypnotized by its darksome power many a night. It is an album which slowly reveals itself through time, but eventually maybe you, like I have, will learn its nooks and crannies of ebon hue.
Through ages and ages, death was our lord! Each battle, each tyranny, mere reflections of him. At the breath of the devil, light flee, we walk our narrow way as millions die! Aefas! It has come for us to witness, human history brought to an end.
This album offers black metal akin to Swedish kinsmen Watain and Ofermod, as well as reminding of Deathspell Omega at times. The band would fit in nicely with the bands signed to the NED label, such as Deathspell Omega. Mostly uninspired, but at times intriguing to listen to is how best to describe this album. The moments where there is something interesting going on are worth listening to, but there sure are a lot of filler riffs and songs on this album that really make this seem rather long.
The guitars are pretty sub-par. First off, the production makes them seem weak and almost fragile when they play without the drums accompanying them. The arpeggiated sections sound way to indistinct to really make them melodic but are also to thin to sound aggressive and raw. The more standard tremolo and power chord riffs suffer less from this production. I think a simple matter of adding more overdubs and layers would make the guitars sound far more effective and powerful. The riffs themselves are almost exclusively uncreative, they simply do one note per bar tremolo, or some sort of half step/tritone based arpeggio riff, ultimately a very formulaic approach to black metal. If the band wasn't dependent solely on guitars then this could be overlooked, but as the melodic content comes from the guitars they are quite dull, especially as they are not particularly harsh or abrasive in sound.
The first two minutes of the album actually reveal the greatest potential of the band. The use of the church choir is one that I always enjoy in black metal, due to the obvious satiric nature and the perversion of the choral music. It contrast very well and would be very interesting, except that it is never played in tandem with the guitars/vocals/drums/bass. If the choir samples were layered over the music I think that Ondskapt would have found themselves an interesting formula (as long as it is not overdone). Alas the two minutes of choir in the beginning do not reoccour in any interesting parts of the cd.
The actual song structures are rather aimless and meandering. They variate from faster tremolo section to slower arpeggio section to mid paced power chord part in nearly every song, a formula that gets old fast. There is nothing memorable, to the extent that when parts do repeat in the structure it is not very obvious because everything sounds very similar. It is hard to distinguish songs on this cd, mainly due to the uninspired guitar formula already mentioned.
Vocally there is some hope, because even though the vocals compliment the guitars and sound rather hollow, there are moments of cleaner singing that could be used more to create a diverse effect that would distinguish parts of the structure. The is also a certain morbid trudging feel to the music that the low vocals work well with. I hesitate to say the sound is doom metal influenced, but the slower sections certainly allow room for the comparison to something like a sped up Nortt. Atmospherically the album isn't as sub par as the review so far would lead you to think. The album sounds fairly bleak and dark, but it lacks the punch to really either make it sound crushing and doomy, or aggressive and abrasive. It is worth it to give a listen if you like Swedish black metal but I wouldn't expect anything pushing the genre in a new direction, or an album that is one of the best in it's style.
Released in 2003, this particular Ondskapt album differs from earlier work in terms of production - which may or may not influence its effect on people. The production is fairly thick, almost claustrophobic. As I do enjoy the thicker, denser production of albums, this serves as a highlight and adds to the atmosphere, which is indeed very dark.
The songs vary in length, from 4-10 minutes - but each revels in the dense fluidity engaged by the production. The songs aren't "catchy", and therefore would not appeal to the majority of metal listeners - although the drumming is fast at points, with enough variance to be considered "head bang" worthy to some listeners, the droning of the guitars, and select discordance of notes helps achieve the atmosphere which is often prized in black metal - misanthropic and not "fun". By creating this atmosphere, the band is able to distance metal listeners who are easily stimulated by fast drums and generic thrash based riffs. Saying that however, the songs are often littered with moments of catchy, thrash driven riffs - but as these are so "buried" within the songs, the element of dense morbidity is not lost to catchy mediocrity.
The musical structure of the album could almost be said to be borrowed from the French black metal scene, the notes engaging the listener in a thick, trance through repetition and discordancy. Vocally, Acerbus ranges from emotional howls, to a low end growl that is typical in black/death cross-over bands. The balance between the two styles ensures that the vocals aren't too repetitive and present a balance of emotion and texture to the music.
Overall, this is a thick, dark album, best listened to with headphones :)
I don't know what to make of this new style (or maybe it has always walked parallel to other forces within black metal), but it's definitely not offering something strong or unique in my opinion.
I purchased this in it's cd form, released through Oaken Shield (France). I thought the artwork was decent, very minimalist and with drab, almost rusty brown colored text upon a black background. As I looked through the artwork after purchase, I was disappointed to see that the insert wasn't lyrics or more artwork, but a catalog for the label. I don't mind if you put an add in the release, but to advertise in the jacket really throws things off. Keep the adds separate!
All tracks bear the same title - Draco Sir Mihi Dux - and range from 5 to 10 minutes roughly. Of course, this shit opens up with a "haunting" classical, choir piece that melts into the first song. What was gathered became "top-notch" recycler riffs and scissor-beats that don't convince me. The vocals come through with no sincerity, although I appreciate the placements. I'm not interested in really breaking the songs down as they all produce the same feelings for me. As strange as it may sound, Ondskapt's songs may have worked better for me with less productiond and more raw energy. When songs like these are too clean, they put me to sleep.